Friday, 14 August 2015

Leach Pottery

Both Hubby and I are interesting in pottery, although Hubby's interest is more pottery and mine is more in other sorts of ceramics.

When we visited the Leach Pottery in St Ives in April though both of our interests collided in a great way!  I knew of the work of the great potter Bernard Leach and we were both keen to visit the pottery.

There is a small museum area before you enter the old workshop area.  You then go through to another room where there is a wonderful video of Leach at work and various of his students talking about their time at the pottery.  If you go to the pottery, I recommend taking the time to watch the video, it was fascinating.

Then of course it is through to the shop where you can see the work of the potters who currently work there producing their own pieces and the Leach Standard Ware which the pottery became famous for.


We start off in the museum area.



There were some incredible pieces.  I love these sorts of glazes and the simplicity of the pieces.  They reflect Leach's time studying ceramics in Japan.



Then you move through to the old workshops and you can see the different kilns that were used at different times, for different processes and different people.


The "climbing kiln" was the first of its kind to be built in this country and is a scheduled monument.  It is very important.  It was built in 1923.



You can see inside these three kilns in the next three photos with some example pots on show.




There were various kinds of potters wheels used including these kick wheels.



At the end of the day Leach and the students and other workers would sit around this fireplace and talk.




Leach felt that the glazes and different ways of applying them was very important.  He took a great deal of time in the work of glazing.






You can see many of the glaze samples which were worked out.





In the heyday of the pottery there were seven potters wheels being used.  A potter would make between 70 and 100 identical items each day.  The important part was the skill of being able to reproduce the same thing again and again.  By doing this and having a standard range  - called in this case Standard Ware - you could sell this easily because people knew what they were getting.  This allowed the pottery to be profitable as a business which then allowed the production of other more "art" pieces of pottery.




The roof in the kiln area is amazing isn't it.  There have obviously been repairs and stabilisation made with the metal braces.


The inside of this kiln is amazing, where different materials have been thrown into the kiln to glaze the pots, over time the inside of the kiln has also become glazed too!










Outside there is a small Japanese garden area which reflects the time that Leach spent in Japan.


This is a rain chain - common in Japan- which allows the water to drain from the roof instead of a normal gutter and downspout system that you might expect to see.



In the room with the video there are many more beautiful pots on display.







We then went back past the garden area.  These beautiful bird baths were a gift to the pottery.






These tiny little pots are no more than about 2 inches high for the tallest of them.  Despite their small size, they did not have a small price tag!





There were many other pieces though that were very beautiful.



Finally outside we saw the modern kiln area which was being set up for a firing.




Sorry that this is such a long post, so many pictures to share!  I hope that you found it interesting though.  You can get more information on the pottery website here.

If you are ever in St Ives I would thoroughly recommend a visit - and perhaps a purchase or too which yes, we might have made!  This is what we bought.




Amy

39 comments:

  1. I love the pieces you bought. The leaf design is lovely.

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  2. Very interesting post, lovely to see the workings from the past and how its not really changed much, the little garden is sweet and I love the rain rings, your purchases are lovely and wonder if they will be on display on the mantel at some time in the future :-)

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  3. A very interesting post ... thanks for sharing your visit with us.

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  4. I think my favourites are the mini teapots, but I shuddered when I saw the price tag.

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  5. Hello Amy

    A wonderful post. Thank you for taking me around Leach Pottery I enjoyed my visit, and I love your
    purchases.

    luv
    irene
    xxxx

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  6. A fascinating place to visit. I like the rain rings and the square thingys on the stumps (a description which doesn't do them justice!). Your purchases are lovely too. x

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  7. Both my father in law and uncle in law are potters and we have lots of their things in the house here. Love the old workshops and all the equipment xx

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  8. A wonderful trip in time which is always fun, loved the variations of the wheel most interesting. Your purchase are lovely, a display for the mantel maybe?

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  9. I did enjoy the post Amy, thanks, very interesting. I like the simple shapes and decoration and the shiny glazes, it's a pity it's all so expensive though. x

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  10. I've really enjoyed this post Amy so thank you for showing us all you saw, I'd like to visit one day. I love the pieces you bought. There are a few pieces of Bernard Leach's work in our local museum in the Art and Studio pottery part of the ceramics gallery and I love to look at them:)

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  11. Thanks for the reminder Amy - I have often intended to visit the pottery, but as we usually go for just a few days have not got round to it.
    I could kick myself as I once had the opportunity, many years ago, to buy a Bernard Leach pot which seemed to be expensive at the time, but very cheap by todays prices.

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  12. I love the choices you made!
    Jane x

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  13. What a lovely place to visit, so interesting. I like the pieces you chose to buy.

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  14. A great post with lots of pics, I particularly love the rain chains (sorry I know it's not the pottery) and the bird baths, however what you bought is very pretty.

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  15. Thanks for the tour. I hope to go to Cornwall next time I make it to the UK and this will go on my list of "must see" sites. I love the pottery that you purchased!

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  16. this was a wonderful tour! thanks for sharing. last year i did a paper on wabi sabi...and of course, Bernard Leach's influence in bringing the aesthetic to his work and to the craft in general outside of Japan. hmmmmm how can I schedule a trip to St ives??!?

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  17. What a great place to visit with some beautiful pieces on display. Love the colour palette and your purchases.

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  18. So fascinating, Amy! A wonderful place to visit and so many beautiful pieces to buy!
    Have a lovely weekend!

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  19. Amy, wonderful pottery. I so enjoy watching a potter at work.

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  20. I absolutely love pottery and this is fascinating to me - so thanks for sharing Amy! Pottery is another "craft" I would love to dive into and think it would be so fun to work on...but I'll just have to add it to my never ending list of talents I'd love to master! Lol
    I love the pieces you purchased. Just beautiful!! Have a beautiful and blessed weekend. xoxo

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  21. Your pics are amazing, although I must admit I don't quite 'get' Leach. I love Troika and Barbara Hepworth, but at the moment my absolute favourite is Greyson Perry. It's a good job we don't all like the same things, isn't it?

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  22. I enjoyed this tour. How nice you and your husband share a si,mlar interest in pottery. It makes for a very pleasant experience!

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  23. Lovely pictures! I love pottery too, especially the kind that feels hand made... if that makes sense. Your purchases are great! xx

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  24. That was really interesting, thank you for taking and posting so many photos. I have a bit of a pottery collection myself. Just pieces I like, not any one maker and most picked up from charity shops. I have had a bit of a purge recently though - back to the charity shops for the ones I didn't love enough!

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  25. Classy choices my friend. Great tour thanks. Thanks for sending meg some love. Jo x

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  26. What an interesting place to have visited. Thanks for sharing. x

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  27. Looks like an interesting place to visit, Amy. I do like what you bought! :o)

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  28. What a lovely informative and interesting post. The type of places hubby and I like to visit. Thanks. Take care.

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  29. It is a fascinating place to visit. I have a couple of pieces made by Amanda Brier from when she worked at the Leach studio from 2000 to 2005. She was born in Falmouth in 1978 so was very young and newly graduated when she worked there but her pots have a freshness that I love. I also have a number of pieces made by Nic Harrison of Trelowarren pottery, another Leach disciple from way back and finally I have some pots made by John Leach, Bernard's grandson, and bought from his pottery at Muchelney in Somerset. I use all my pots and not only are they beautiful and well-crafted they also bring back lots of lovely holiday memories.

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  30. What lovely pottery Amy!! Look beautiful:))

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  31. What a wonderful, creative place, I love ceramics as well and love the ones you chose.
    Oh, its good to be back. I've not been on holiday, just a horrid flu. In August :-(
    Amalia
    xo

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  32. I love pottery, I am always amazed by the process. I went to Hornsea pottery as a little girl and still remember it so well, my cousin, who was with us at the time, still collects it. Lovely pictures Amy, some beautiful pieces x

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  33. I do like the pieces you bought.

    I also like those little pots, 2 inches high for the tallest of them! ... and yes, as you say " Despite their small size, they did not have a small price tag!"

    All the best Jan

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  34. Wonderful, wonderful post just love the pottery , something I wish I could have done, your photos show so many lovely pieces I would like to bring home with me. I like the earthy feel to it all, the birdbaths on the wood are wonderful too... loved it.
    Amanda xx

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  35. That looks like a fascinating place to visit. Next time in St Ives we will definitely go. I'd missed your post on Lanhydrock too, another place I've thoroughly enjoyed. Nice to see it again through another person's eyes.

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  36. Fascinating! I love the mugs and the teapots especially!

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  37. Cornwall and St. Ives are high on my to-visit list. I know I'd enjoy this museum very much. Thanks for bringing me along.

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  38. I've never visited St Ives but would love to. And I'm a ceramics lover too so this would be a place to go. I'm glad you found a few pieces to bring back home, that's always very important!
    Sarah x

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  39. This looks brilliant. Thanks for sharing it. We went to St Ives years ago but missed this. If we ever go back, Illl be visiting. Lovely that you bought something.

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